This Sunday, April 9th will mark the 100th anniversary of The Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Government of Canada will mark this day with events in Canada and France. Commemorative ceremonies will also be held in communities from coast to coast to coast.
By the spring of 1917, Europe had been at war for more than two-and-a-half years, with neither side being able to make a significant breakthrough. As part of an Allied offensive, a major attack was planned for April in the area of Arras, France. In this attack, the Canadians would be tasked with capturing Vimy Ridge. This was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps would fight side by side.
It was ultimately a major victory for the Allied Forces, and some say that Canada came of age as a country during the four long days of battle. The victory, however, came at a heavy cost. Approximately 3,600 Canadians lost their lives, and more than 7,000 were wounded.
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial stands not only as a reminder of a significant battle, but also as a tribute to all Canadians who served during the First World War, especially those who gave their lives. It is inscribed with the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were listed as “missing, presumed dead” in France during the war. It reminds us of the values Canadians were willing to fight for and the importance of the conflict in shaping our country.
Over 650,000 Canadians enlisted in the First World War, over 4000 of which were Indigenous peoples. More than 66,000 Canadians ultimately lost their lives fighting for the freedom and peace we enjoy today.
Their courage will never be forgotten.
There will be a commemorative ceremony this Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 9:00am at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, which will include a smudging ceremony by Elder Anne St. Georges and musical performances by Dave Hookimaw and Theland Kicknosway.
In Toronto there will be a ceremony at Fort York National Historic Site at 2:00PM. Mayor John Tory will be joined there by Premier Kathleen Wynne and Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
For more information on a commemorative ceremony near you, visit http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/events.